Science is for Girls: A Primer

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You’ve probably heard a little about what’s going on in girl world regarding STEM (science, tech, engineering and math) careers: Lots of girls have a propensity toward math and science, but very few go on to study it after high school and fewer still make it their life’s work.

The Girl Scouts of America recently released a study that showed us exactly how interested younger girls are in science and math: a staggering 74 percent of the 1000 girls surveyed love STEM subjects. So why is it that women only occupy about 25 percent of STEM industry jobs? It’s not like women aren’t going to college – more women graduate from college nowadays than men do.

What’s going on here? Well, probably lots of different factors are at play. It may have to do with the industry or mainstream media, but the biggest reason girls drop their interest in science and math to pursue other paths is the message girls start to get around the middle grades that persist into high school: math and science are for boys.

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Well, nerdy parent, you’re probably doing an awesome job raising that little girl of yours to embrace her geeky side, so keep it up. Show her how fun it can be to build a robot, how beautiful patterns are, and that science and math can be as girly as she is.

We’d like to help you foster your little lady scientist’s budding geekiness, so we’ve rounded up a few items to help her burst through all of those old-fashioned stigmas with style.

Start With the Walls

If you have anything to do with it, she’ll be breaking down barriers all over the place – so why not start with the walls of your home? Filling your white space with a few awesome science graphics will teach your kids what you already know: Science and math can be pretty dang hip.

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Start off with this Science: Girls Do it Better print. You can custom order the print with your choice of colors, so even if your girl isn’t into pink, you can send her the message in her favorite hues.

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Let her see every day that you believe in her with this Some Day I Will Discover Something Amazing print. With your choice of pink, green or blue, it’ll match whichever room in the house needs a little science-ing up.

If you’re more into ’60s mod retro graphics, throw this great Be Radical graphic into the mix. It’ll go well with your vintage poster collection, and will help you send the message that no one ever got anywhere without a little radical thought.

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Science with Style

If you’ve got a girly-girl on your hands, you’re going to have to play by her style rules. Luckily for you (and her) cuteness and science are not mutually exclusive.

These great Chemsitry Flask earrings come in a bunch of great, trendy colors including my personal favorite: “zombie green.” With jewelry like this, your daughter will become the ambassador for chic geekery, even in the tough middle school fashion world.

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If she’s really more into math than science, your little geekerella may enjoy these quirky comicbook- style Einstein and Pi Speech Bubble earrings. On the offchance she’s not speaking her mind at the moment, everyone will still know exactly how brilliant she is.

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Not every girl has pierced ears, but that doesn’t mean the ones that don’t can’t be lab-fab. This adorable 3-in-1 necklace set tells everyone that she’ll be one of the 25 percent of scientists that just so happens to be a female, and even comes with two bonus interchangeable pendants: a happy little molecule and a cute, cartoony microscope.

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Brain Food

If your daughter is anything like I was as a kid, she’s devouring books like candy, and the type of book she reads will help influence the woman she’ll become. Why not use her voracious literary appetite to nudge her sciency mind toward inquiry-based greatness?

In the Newbery Award-winning book The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, 11 year old Calpurnia’s passion for the natural world begins with a question about grasshoppers. The book tracks a year of her life as she learns about the natural world while dealing with the struggles of being a girl in the man’s world of 1899.

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Help your daughter learn how to explore her passion for science through the real story of Sylvia Earle with Life in the Ocean. Sylvia’s interest in the ocean sparked when she was just a girl living on the Gulf of Mexico, and now she spends her time advocating for the “blue heart of the planet” and studying the mysteries of the deep.

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Getting Hands On

Engineering is one of the fields with the lowest number of female professionals, and looking at engineering toys, it’s easy to see that the notion of engineering as a “boy science” bombards even the youngest children. That’s why Debbie Sterling began a Kickstarter campaign for Goldie Blox, an engineering toy designed just for girls.

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The toy comes with an interactive story that kids can follow as they build an increasingly complicated contraption using different components like pegs, spools and ribbons. The hugely successful Kickstarter campaign garnered a lot of press, and the toy is now on its way to retail shelves.

Is this an indication that the next generation of girls will rock more lab coats when they grow up? Let’s hope so!

Check out the video that started it all:

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